Image: Ian Funk.

Parliament Passes Two Bills Following FATF Report

 In News, Politics, Society

Two laws were enacted in parliament Wednesday to ensure further compliance with the recommendations of the FATF (The Financial Action Task Force, an independent inter-governmental body promoting policies to protect the global financial system) concerning anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing measures.

The
first of the two bills stipulates that organisations that are established for the purposes of distributing funds in the public’s interest and that operate across borders must be registered with the tax authorities (Directorate of Internal Revenue). Without the legislation, there is a risk that such organisations could be operated to launder money or finance terrorism. A sense of urgency accompanied the bill‘s adoption, RÚV reports. The bill was submitted on Monday, parliamentary debates were held late Tuesday, and the bill was enacted before dinner on Wednesday. Owing to this urgency, there was no time for further review, as is the custom, nor to inform the more than 200 organisations that now must register their operations.

The other law empowers parliament to sell assets that have been confiscated or frozen during a criminal investigation. On certain conditions, such actions may be taken before a ruling is reached in court. The bill was submitted last month but was not debated in parliament until Tuesday, before being passed into law Wednesday. Two members of parliament‘s opposition parties criticised the hasty enactment of these bills, without other governmental representatives having the opportunity to comment.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) submitted its report last year. In response, parliament adopted the European Union’s anti-money laundering directive, while other aspects of the FATF‘s recommendations were not addressed. In a follow-up report, the FATF encourages parliament to take further action. In the event that the authorities do not meet the FATF‘s recommendations, Iceland may be listed as an “non-compliant” nation, according to RÚV. This will allow other nations to make stringent demands on the Icelandic government and companies within the Icelandic financial sector. Whether or not Iceland will be placed on said list will be determined on and around the middle of October.

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Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson